This Pentecost was marred by the shooting of George Tiller. Jesus says any sin can be forgiven except the “sin against the Holy Spirit.” The Fathers engage in much debate about what this is. It has come to be interpreted as despair, particularly despair expressed in suicide, which makes sense in the context. Jesus gives the teaching in Mark 3:29, after the Scribes accuse Him of driving out demons by the power of demons.
In other words, they are denying that the power of God can drive out demons.
Now, Jesus asks the rhetorical question of whether a house divided against itself can stand, but this must carry with it the realization that a) Satan’s house cannot stand and b) Satan’s house is divided against itself.
One of my great disappointments with most Christians today is the total lack of trust in Providence. Jesus could not be more clear on this:
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat (or drink), or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they? Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span? Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them.
If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith? So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’ All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom (of God) and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.
Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.
But Christians sure do worry a lot, about a lot of frivolous, worldly things: 401(k)s, stockpiling canned goods in case of social collapse, buying guns to protect themselves from possible looting gangs, eating “organic” foods so they can try to avoid getting cancer, torturing Muslims to prevent terrorist attacks, etc.
A bit more drastic, and apropros to this feast of Pentecost, is the passage that inspires certain varieties of Pentecostals:
“These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages. They will pick up serpents (with their hands), and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” (Mk 16:17-18).
The person who shot George Tiller–though, it must be noted, we know nothing of this person’s motivations; maybe he was a campaign finance reform fanatic–was committing the sin against the Holy Spirit. He was denying God’s power to redeem the soul of George Tiller, as He redeemed the souls of Bernard Nathanson, Norma McCorvey, Sandra Cano, John Bruchalski, and so many other architects of the Culture of Death.
Wouldn’t this person have done so much more good if he’d been armed with a squirt gun full of holy water? If he’d handed Tiller a Miraculous Medal and dared him to wear it for a month, like Ven. Alfonse Ratissbonne? If he’d sprinked exorcism salt on Tiller’s head?
Why don’t Christians learn that the fundamental message of the Bible is to trust *God’s* way, not our own. Watch almost any episode of _Veggietales_. Read the anonymous letter to the Hebrews. The passages, often used by sola fide types, which talk of how the Old Testament saints were redeemed by their faith, not their personal righteousness, mean not their “intellectual belief” in God but their *trust.*
Abraham trusted God, and it was “credited to him as righteousness.” David was a “man after God’s own heart” because he ultimately trusted God’s promises to him. Yes, both these men had times where they failed to trust in God–and all sin boils down to failure to trust God–but when God called on them to extreme tests of faith, they pulled through.
There are so many issues which we consider “ethically complex” that become far less complex when we look at them from a Providentialist viewpoint, and when we look at them from a willingness to deny ourselves, take up our crosses, and follow Jesus.